Letters as Loot

A sociolinguistic approach to seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Dutch

Gijsbert Rutten | Leiden University
Marijke J. van der Wal | Leiden University
ISBN 9789027200815 | EUR 99.00 | USD 149.00
e-Book Open Access
ISBN 9789027269577
The study of letter writing is at the heart of the historical-sociolinguistic enterprise. Private letters, in particular, offer an unprecedented view on language history. This book presents an in-depth study of the language of letters focussing on a unique collection of Dutch private letters from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, which comprises letters from the lower, middle and upper ranks, written by men as well as women.

The book discusses the key issues of formulaic language and the degree of orality of private letters, it questions the importance of letter-writing manuals, and reveals remarkable patterns of social, regional and gender variation in a wide range of linguistic features. Arguing for writing experience as an important factor in historical linguistics generally, the book offers numerous new perspectives on the history of Dutch.

The monograph is of interest to a wide readership, ranging from scholars of historical linguistics, sociolinguistics, Germanic linguistics, sociology and social history to (advanced) graduate and postgraduate students in courses on language variation and change.

[Advances in Historical Sociolinguistics, 2]  2014.  xiii, 426 pp.
Publishing status: Available

For any use beyond this license, please contact the publisher at rights@benjamins.nl.

Table of Contents
“This book makes an original and worthwhile contribution to the study of the development of language in a social and historical context. The analyses are undertaken with exemplary thoroughness, presented with copious detail and compared with studies in other European languages.”
“Drawing on unique source material and presenting detailed case studies of a variety of features from seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Dutch, this well-written and important study of private letters from writers of all social classes and different geographical backgrounds offers an entirely new perspective on the history of Dutch.”
“[A] rich, nuanced and substantial contribution to the history of Dutch, and the field of historical sociolinguistics more generally. As a text, it works as a reference monograph; of interest to researchers of specific changes in the Dutch language, but also for scholars of other languages or periods seeking guidance on methodological approach, or a theoretical model. [...] The book is a testament to a treasure trove of letters, newly discovered, that offer a richness of descriptive and interpretative sociolinguistic insights.”
“The Letters as Loot project has done wonderful work in creating this rich sociolinguistic corpus. The authors have made the most of their dataset with their selection of research topics, and sociolinguistic research in other languages is often referred to. The attention to detail and the meticulousness of research throughout this excellent book are truly impressive, and the analysis is highly satisfying in its step-by-step pursuit for an overarching synthesis. [...] As a historical sociolinguist whose field is eighteenth-century English, I will certainly revisit and make use of the findings presented here.”
Cited by

Cited by 26 other publications

No author info given
2018.  In Patterns of Change in 18th-century English [Advances in Historical Sociolinguistics, 8], Crossref logo
No author info given
2022.  In Sociolinguistic Variation in Old English [Advances in Historical Sociolinguistics, 13], Crossref logo
Ahrendt, Rebekah & David Van der Linden
2017. The Postmasters' Piggy Bank. French Historical Studies 40:2  pp. 189 ff. Crossref logo
Wendy Ayres-Bennett & John Bellamy
2021.  In The Cambridge Handbook of Language Standardization, Crossref logo
Conde-Silvestre, J. Camilo
2016.  In Handbook of Pragmatics, Crossref logo
Conde-Silvestre, J. Camilo
2022.  In Handbook of Pragmatics [Handbook of Pragmatics, ],  pp. 756 ff. Crossref logo
De Smet, Isabeau & Freek Van de Velde
2020. Semantic differences between strong and weak verb forms in Dutch. Cognitive Linguistics 31:3  pp. 393 ff. Crossref logo
Dollinger, Stefan
2019.  In Keeping in Touch [Advances in Historical Sociolinguistics, 10], Crossref logo
Elspaß, Stephan
2021.  In The Cambridge Handbook of Language Standardization,  pp. 93 ff. Crossref logo
Girininkaitė, Veronika
2020. Code-Switching in the Letters of Vilnius University Professors at the End of the 18th century. Taikomoji kalbotyra :14  pp. 148 ff. Crossref logo
Graber, Kathryn E.
2015. On the Disassembly Line: Linguistic Anthropology in 2014. American Anthropologist 117:2  pp. 350 ff. Crossref logo
Große, Sybille & Lena Sowada
2020. Socialisation écrite et rédaction épistolaire de scripteurs moins expérimentés – lettres des soldats de la Grande Guerre . Romanistisches Jahrbuch 71:1  pp. 82 ff. Crossref logo
Hernández-Campoy, Juan Manuel
2022. Mel Evans: Royal voices: Language and power in Tudor England. Journal of Historical Sociolinguistics 8:1  pp. 189 ff. Crossref logo
Hickey, Raymond
2019.  In Keeping in Touch [Advances in Historical Sociolinguistics, 10], Crossref logo
Kaislaniemi, Samuli, Mel Evans, Teo Juvonen & Anni Sairio
2017.  In Exploring Future Paths for Historical Sociolinguistics [Advances in Historical Sociolinguistics, 7],  pp. 187 ff. Crossref logo
Krogull, Andreas
2021. Rethinking Historical Multilingualism and Language Contact ‘from Below’. Evidence from the Dutch-German Borderlands in the Long Nineteenth Century. Dutch Crossing 45:2  pp. 147 ff. Crossref logo
Krogull, Andreas & Gijsbert Rutten
2021. Reviving the genitive. Prescription and practice in the Netherlands (1770–1840). Journal of Historical Sociolinguistics 7:1  pp. 61 ff. Crossref logo
Krogull, Andreas, Gijsbert Rutten & Marijke J. van der Wal
2017.  In Exploring Future Paths for Historical Sociolinguistics [Advances in Historical Sociolinguistics, 7],  pp. 157 ff. Crossref logo
Marcus, Imogen
2018.  In The Linguistics of Spoken Communication in Early Modern English Writing,  pp. 321 ff. Crossref logo
Rutten, Gijsbert
2016. Historicizing diaglossia. Journal of Sociolinguistics 20:1  pp. 6 ff. Crossref logo
Rutten, Gijsbert, Andreas Krogull & Bob Schoemaker
2020. Implementation and acceptance of national language policy: the case of Dutch (1750–1850). Language Policy 19:2  pp. 259 ff. Crossref logo
Rutten, Gijsbert & Rik Vosters
2021.  In The Cambridge Handbook of Language Standardization,  pp. 65 ff. Crossref logo
Säily, Tanja, Arja Nurmi, Minna Palander-Collin & Anita Auer
2017.  In Exploring Future Paths for Historical Sociolinguistics [Advances in Historical Sociolinguistics, 7],  pp. 1 ff. Crossref logo
van der Wal, Marijke
2018. Early Modern migrants in a language contact setting: Characteristics of the Dutch Heusch correspondence (1664–1665) . Journal of Historical Sociolinguistics 4:2  pp. 253 ff. Crossref logo
van der Wal, Marijke
2021. The black box of delegated writing: Early Modern scribes and female literacy in The Netherlands. Journal of Historical Sociolinguistics 7:2  pp. 303 ff. Crossref logo
Włodarczyk, Matylda
2017. Auer, Anita, Daniel Schreier and Richard Watts (eds). 2015.Letter Writing and Language Change. Journal of Historical Pragmatics 18:1  pp. 142 ff. Crossref logo

This list is based on CrossRef data as of 27 september 2022. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers. Any errors therein should be reported to them.

Subjects & Metadata
BIC Subject: CFF – Historical & comparative linguistics
BISAC Subject: LAN009000 – LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
ONIX Metadata
ONIX 2.1
ONIX 3.0
U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  2014023573 | Marc record